By Robbie Thompson, Nick Bradshaw, Jim Campbell
One story that never seems to get old is Peter Parker in high school. In the sixties, Lee and Ditko tapped into an easy, yet profound story element that still works today. That’s why we were very excited about the announcement of Spidey, a comic light on continuity and centered on an awkward teenager version of Peter. Unfortunately, Spidey isn’t as great as it sounds.
First off, this is not a bad comic. There’s plenty of action and it’s always fun to watch Pete repeatedly strike out with the ladies. Everything is updated for modern times, but not annoyingly so. Plus, we don’t have to go through another origin story. Spidey takes the first page to explain what we already know and then we’re off to the races. After reading hundreds of origin updates to characters like Spider-Man and Superman, things like drawn out origin tales can become more tedious than anything.
Oh, and Bradshaw. That dude is becoming one of the best Marvel artists. His work continues to improve and the way he draws the Spider-Man costume is so neat. The only complaint about the costume would be the decision to not put webbing on the back of his head. It’s an odd choice, but it’s nothing that should take away from an otherwise solid artistic outing.
Speaking of solid, Jim Campbell’s colors couldn’t possibly fit with Bradshaw’s style any more perfectly. It’s a wonderful blend of Marvel fun and exciting action. Everything is generally bright and positive, but when a character like Doc Ock shows up, things become darker with plenty of shadows looming over our hero and civilians.
The problem with Spidey is that the story never gets beyond the point of being competent. The entire first issue has a feeling of “been there, done that.” If you’re a Spider-Man fan of any sort, chances are pretty decent that you have already experienced a story exactly like this. The only difference is that whatever you read/watched probably told that story better.
Even the classic Parker humor tends to be only serviceable, when it should be at least chuckle-worthy. Spider-Man’s villains are always a strong point, but not here. Doc Ock makes an appearance that falls flat. Green Goblin is one of the greatest baddies in comics, but Spidey manages to make him a tad dull.
Basically, this first issue never gives us a reason to believe that this will be new and stand out from the crowd. There are far too many high quality Marvel titles to waste time and money on Spidey. Once again, this is not a terrible comic and diehard Spider-Man fans may want to get it regardless, but this comic can’t be recommended beyond that. It’s a real shame because this could have been something truly special.